It seems like whenever any institution shows the smallest amount of positive or protective response toward gays, the religious kooks go into a tizzy. As far back as 1999, a decade ago, the APA had this to say regarding 'reparative', 'conversion' or 're-orientation' therapy:
“The potential risks of ‘reparative therapy’ are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient. Many patients... were inaccurately told that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction. The possibility that the person might achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal relationships as a gay man or lesbian is not presented, nor are alternative approaches to dealing with the effects of societal stigmatization discussed... the APA opposes any treatment, such as ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy which is based on the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based on a prior assumption that the patient should change his/her sexual orientation.”Just last week the APA finally adopted a resolution in regard to this position:
The American Psychological Association (APA) adopted a resolution Wednesday urging mental health professionals to avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments. The decision rejects the hundred years' worth of research indicating the effectiveness and benefits of sexual reorientation therapy due to "serious design flaws."What exactly is the driving force behind the dissenting and consequently religious response to this? Religion wasn't taken into account as if it were a fact. Specifically religious doctrines which are mostly fundamental in nature which say that homosexuality is wrong and can be reversed or cured. Please keep in mind that the bible certainly says NOTHING about the nature of homosexuality - there is no book of butch which outlines if it's a choice or a characteristic or pre-determined in some way.
The resolution also advises that parents, guardians, young people and their families avoid sexual orientation treatments that portray homosexuality as a mental illness and rather seek treatments "that provide accurate information on sexual orientation and sexuality, increase family and school support and reduce rejection of sexual minority youth."The approval was made at the APA's annual convention with a 125-4 vote.
This is the issue for them:
The task force examined the 83 studies conducted in English between 1960 and 2007 regarding SOCE, but concluded that the vast majority of the studies were unacceptable because of poor methodology. "Unfortunately, much of the research in the area of sexual orientation change contains serious design flaws," task force chair Dr. Judith M. Glassgold said. "Few studies could be considered methodologically sound and none systematically evaluated potential harms."A good chunk of those rejected 'studies' were conducted by religious institutions and constitutes psychological pseudoscience. One asshole who makes a living peddling this 'you just have to WANT to change' garbage is...the guy who is complaining about the APA's resolution of course!
Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, founder and director of the Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic - a biblical de-gaying office - disagrees with the APA, stating:
the organization did not give sufficient weight to the years of clinical research that shows that in some cases sexual orientation is changeable through therapy. "The APA is really failing to not only represent science, which is its primary responsibility," he said, "but it's also failing to inform people."The APA isn't failing to inform anyone of anything. In fact, these people have something to be happy about given that the APA didn't vote the practice of re-orientation therapy to be specifically unethical, they just refuse back it which means Nicolosi can still torment confused homosexual or bisexual people all he wants without risking the loss of his liscense.
I feel like Nicolosi's greatest fear is one of my strongest hopes - that people will abandon these types of therapy and instead learn to love themselves for who they are, whether they're theists or otherwise.